Stay here: Hotel de Soleil
The hotel formerly known as the Regent is spacious and classy: unlike that dress you saw walking down Ocean last night.
By Nikki Novo
When you think of Ocean Drive, tasteful and classy aren't typically words that come to mind. More common are images of haggling restaurant hostesses displaying Saran wrap-covered entrees, pedestrians in cringe-inducing outfits and terrace eateries blaring cliché Latin music. Without a doubt, the iconic street does have its charm -- though a hint of finesse wouldn't hurt. That, amalgamated with a glamorous low-key appeal, is exactly what the Hotel De Soliel embodies.
The Concept: Located at the quiet end of Ocean Drive at 14th Street is the boutique hotel formerly known as the Regent (and briefly the Vinnci South Beach). The five-story, all-suite (80 of them) hotel outdoes the competition with expansive balconies reaching up to 225 square feet. Although the exterior design is reminiscent of a cruise ship, there are no traces of cheesy music or kitsch décor. Only luscious foliage in outdoor spaces with plenty of breeze and interior spaces dripping in earthly trimming.
The Rooms: The theme here is intimacy, with an outlandish amount of personal space. All rooms are treated equal, dressed in sunset tones, Jerusalem stone floors, two flat screen TVs, Bose surround sound, wet bar with tumblers and martini glasses, fully stocked fridge (yummy snacks and Kettle One), as well as an empty fridge and espresso machines. The bathrooms have his and hers vanities (hers being larger, of course) and a spa-like shower. This will be a counting sheep-less vacay once you rest your bones on the feather bed with goose down pillows. Did we mention the huge balconies? They rival the size of actual rooms in other South Beach hotels. Do it up and rent the spa suite for its private outdoor hot tub or the penthouse for its spiral staircase leading to a private rooftop complete with a Roman tub and retractable awning.
The Amenities: If you're able to convince yourself to leave the room, there's an unpretentious pool area that's surprisingly quiet despite the building being situated on Collins Avenue -- leaving one to suspect that the lush landscaping might, in fact, be soundproof walls. The pool is small, but compensates with glass-bottomed panels that offer a sneak peek at guests downstairs in the open-air lobby - you can't help but stare. If you're worried about fitting into that tiny number you packed, there's an outside fitness center. Other unprecedented amenities include luxury car and butler service for those staying in the penthouse suites.
The Eats: Known for its social scene as much as its food is Table 8. Try the Kobe burger for lunch, but for dinner something from the sea is recommended. The SoBe hotspot makes it even harder to leave your room with its provided room service. Even if you decide to eat in, the opportunity to watch scenesters in their natural habitat is worth a visit to the bar.
The Pampering: No designated spa area on the premises, but masseuses are always available for a body rub either on the pool deck or inside rooms and balconies.
The Bottom Line: Rooms range from $295 to $665 per night during off-season and $550-$1, 070 in-season. Spacious, private and classy: three things South Beach could definitely use more of.
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